Over the last ten years it has become more and more common to hear people tell you to drink more and more water – eight glasses a day / two and a half pints a day / 1.2 litres a day and even 2 litres a day !
Supermarket shelves are loaded down with spring water from the Highlands of Scotland / the Limestone Springs of Derbyshire / The Health Springs of Malvern / The Volcanic Springs of Central France / The Alpine Glacial Streams of Northern Italy. These days everywhere water springs up, someone is there to bottle it. Then we can have it still or sparkling or carbonated or distilled or filtered through charcoal or flavoured with every possible variety of fruit. No doubt there are many more options I’ve yet to come across.
The message is reinforced by sportsmen and women everywhere taking care to hold the label so you can see the brand name on the bottle. At Wimbledon several swigs are required between each change of ends – whatever happened to Robinson’s Lemon Barley Water? At Golf Tournaments a drink of water is necessary on the tee at each hole and between each shot when walking down the fairway. Watch Leicester Tigers play at Welford Road and you see a pitch invasion of water carriers on and off the pitch at every opportunity. In my day playing rugby you were lucky to get a small orange segment at half time !
In the London Marathon every kilometre has a market stall of bottled water, although most of the runners seem ungratefully to pour the water over their heads. Next year “Head and Shoulders Shampoo” are sponsoring the race and they will be adding their product to the water. In the 2012 Olympic Stadium, there will be water pipes strung above the race track and the Athletes will be attached to “Pellagrino Move-Along Drinking Straws” that will follow the runners throughout the race. In the Steeplechase, the Athletes will be credited with an extra 10 seconds on every lap to give them time to stop and drink at the “Evian water jump”.
A report in the British Medical Journal casts doubt on this obsession with drinking so much water. It suggests that Government guidelines on drinking so much water are “worse than nonsense” and that the virtues of water guzzling are exaggerated by bottle water brands.